Tapas

I went to a yoga class last night. I haven’t performed yoga in a decade, and back then, I was chasing a girl. This was an “advanced” class, not in poses but ideas. Everyone there knew one another. I arrived alone, feeling a little unsure.

What was I doing there? I am on a journey toward making my relationship with myself the primary relationship in my life. I think yoga can help with that because of the stretching, the lengthening, the breathing, the holding of poses and the many lessons found in yogic concepts. I’m discovering that the community of people involved with this yoga on Tuesday nights is a great group of people too.

The yoga class experience was amazing! Such a gift to myself. I’ll be going every Tuesday. The instructor took me under his wing. The other participants were kind, accepting. I felt as if I belonged too. They’re practicing their thing just like I am. I like the feeling of being amongst like-minded and like-practicing people.

The yoga session touched on all the aspects of health for me: physical, emotional, maybe not so much mental, and spiritual. At one point, I felt tears coming to the surface. At another point, I was sweating with holding a pose, trying to lengthen into it while also keeping my breath steady and natural. In between those moments was gratitude, or simply no thoughts at all.

I was texting with my friend, Megan, about the experience. She’s a yogi. She praised me for going by myself. Then told me about a yoga concept called tapas.

Tapas is that friction caused by doing something new and/or uncomfortable, which leads you closer to your authentic self. Every time we face tapas, we peel another layer and get closer to the true self, the self untouched by anything in the human world. This is what I’m doing. I’m doing tapas every day. These days for me, just being is tapas. I am strong even in those moments when I feel weak.

In the morning, I write in my journal. Today I wrote,

Tapas = How to be strong when I feel weak.

I want happiness as much as the next red blooded human being, but maybe during certain seasons of our lives, it’s not about “happiness.” Maybe it’s about “experience.” Maybe it’s about peeling those layers back until you arrive at the untouched self and live there for awhile.